Why are the politicians so obsessed with the past?

This question has been haunting me for quite a long time. Does the word change and reality never feature in a politician’s dictionary? Or Am I dumb enough not to understand their machinations behind? Is it a reflection of our jingoistic pride with the past heritage? Is it because of those crow and pigeon shitting sober dark statues of the leaders of the past in every traffic signal and prominent places which constantly remind us of the glory of the past? Is it a symbol of identity for connecting with the have-nots of the society who manage to eat the past left-overs of the day? Does it got to do with the famous REMAKE culture? Or does it got to do with some chemical locha(For all those happily ignorant of Hindi in Tamil Nadu, thanks to DMK’s boon to its denizens; it means problem) as suggested by Munnabhai, widely rampant among the parties which have consanguineous ties with black and red(yellow to be included too??)
For those who are wondering, whether this has got to do with my thorough dislike for the somniferous (and yes...at times, fabricated) fat history textbooks replete with quirky facts and figures; I beg your pardon. Off late I have become pretty interested in History, whose credits should go to film makers like Ashutosh Gowariker and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and writers like Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins. As the popular epithet goes, History Repeats Itself, history serves as the perfect kaleidoscope in which one can easily identify various problems plaguing the modern society by introspection of the annals of history. History is like sign board you see in the roads giving u directions. You have the discretion to choose which sign board suits you the best. You’ve gotta move ahead in the road! You cant simply stand at the road adoring the sign board…You have to move forward!
What really bothers me, or to put it in simple words, pisses me off is the excessive, unwieldy baggage carried by the political shenanigans in all their activities. Let me quote several examples to prove my point. Karunanidhi, CM and the head of the ruling, ahtesitic (Confused..? MY MSWORD spell check works fine, it behooves to be mis spelt here) DMK party, recently went to preside over a gathering organized by some Hindu theocratic organization which built an opulent golden temple near Vellore. Right from his descent from his house to the function venue, his faithful party servants placed several banners of the leader along with a huge vinyl banner of Karunanidhi hugging the fluffy bearded leader of the rational, men in black (NO...Im not obsessed with colour.. Its just the colour of the shirt), Periyar. If TIME magazine were to appoint me a jury for the most hypocritical yet funny incidents of the year 2008 in India, I would blindly select this event as #1. It was as if, the man with Black Goggles, blackened by the Dravidian ideologies of Periyar(which again, is rumored to be a rip off of Anarcho Syndicalism) suddenly attained enlightenment and turned a devotee of Swami Ayyappan(for those who are blinking why I am talking about him, his devotees wear black), gob smacked probably by the golden uhh..Devotion. Speaking at the temple premises (which boasted of a shrine to Lord Ram…Who else is Ram , but an avatar of Lakshmi Narayan), Mr. K. said that Rationalism and Religion should be twins but no Siamese twins. May be, reminiscent of his movie days, pictured a typical filmy bhai bhai story wherein the Rationalistic brother broke the statues of the Religious brother in 80’s ,cut off holy threads, and then discovered his true love for his brother in the haze of the golden aura.
Come on, I cant expect Mr. K and his legion of followers to know that Carvaka, supposedly first atheistic school of thought had emerged way back in 600 BCE from discussions amongst Hindu monks. Infact as pointed by Amartya Sen in an interview, Madhava Acharya, the remarkable 14th century philosopher, wrote this rather great book called Sarvadarshansamgraha, which discussed all the religious schools of thought within the Hindu structure. The first chapter is "Atheism" - a very strong presentation of the argument in favor of atheism and materialism.
If u thought this looks like I am proving the opposite of what I am contending, it means you still haven’t got the clear picture. The same person who talked about Rationalism and religion being twins in this function made a mockery of one of the greatest symbols of our Indian Culture few months back in the Sethu Samudram Issue. He whetted his ahtesitic appetite by allowing the ally DK party’s followers to install Periyar Statue near the proximities of Hindu temples, inciting hatred among religious and irreligious folks. Well, confused…sample this..The same leader, in the beginning of 2007, called Sathya Sai Baba equivalent to God after the latter produced some miracles( rings out of thin air)in front of the former at his residence. Hypocrisy is an understatement here. Reams of literature have been written about the genetic links between Politics &Hypocrisy. I am not going to write more. What really irks me, is why he still has to use the legends of the past umpteen number of times in his rhetoric rants when he is well aware of the fact that the crux of the Dravidian philosophy on which his party was built and presently standing crippled no longer remains relevant in the contemporary times. These actions clearly iterate this fact. Having said this, Let me make myself clear. I don’t work for Jaya TV or any of the opposition parties. Leaders of the Green leaves still put up large cut outs of MGR and play philosophical numbers of the matinee legend whenever they flirt with the public. They go gung ho about Midday Meal Scheme which was launched for the first time in the country in Tamil nadu, way back in 1982, unaware of the fact that even after 25 years of the programme’s launch all over the country, the mal nutrition levels in our country is on par with Somalia(Source: UNICEF) They play songs in the streets like “Thirudaathe Paapa Thirudaathe” (Don’t steal, Oh baby, Don’t steal) amplified from wide mouthed speakers powered by residential electric supply cables. (While I am writing this, my winamp plays the famous hindi song as the background, “It happens only in India” in the background)
Have politicians today become stooges of the past legend?
Aspiring politicians, aware of this phenomenon too try to connect with the public by sneaking under the garb of a long forgotten political legend. Vijayakanth is touted as the reincarnated black MGR by his own party folks (Again…Yours truly is no racist...its a sobriquet given by his faithful followers..)and Sarath Kumar is busy promising that his rule would be yet another Golden Kamaraj Rule, drooling over Kamarajar’s Nadar community for votes. Following the Kamaraj’s footsteps, would he care to live in a simple rented house, move around in one car, without a huge assembly line of cars ahead and behind??
The latest buzz is that politicians will soon begin to claim Intellectual historical property rights over past legends. It is rumored that AIADMK has bought extensive historical rights over MGR and is planning to sue Vijayakanth for the basis of infringement of patriarchal property. Corporates would grab this wonderful opportunity and start a Intellectual Historical Consultancy firm, with political parties becoming diamond clients.
This phenomenon is not common to the South. While Mumbai is busy metamorphosing into a global village, the feudalistic clan of Thackerays is beginning to talk about the antediluvian Sons of the Soil Theory. May be because they are living in Bollywood city, the junior Thackerays are busy remaking the super hit formula, Regionalistc Chivalry game- orchestrated for the first time by the Senior Thackeray in the 1960s -in 2008. The old garrulous talks about South Indians are replaced with talks over Biharis. Yes, its true, Mumbai is gasping for breath for space. But you cant amputate your own leg!!
One of the most renowned patients of this disease is US President George. W. Bush. While political commentators have flooded the book stalls with books over why Bush went to War with Iraq, the fact that his father, George.H.W.Bush was very much bedeviled by Saddam Hussein in the 90’s cannot be ignored. Conditioned by the good ol’ movies, I see Iraq War only as a befitting revenge saga by the son whose father was humiliated by the big fat villain.
Things are however beginning to change. Political parties with no strings to the past whatsoever have begun to rise to the fore. Lok Paritran, a party started by bunch of IIT folks and highly qualified academics, is showing lot of promise. They talk about transformation in its true sense, far from the befuddling promises of past utopia. It is heartening to see them competing against political stalwarts in their constituencies. More parties with ideologies based on changing landscapes of our country should rise up and change the dynamics of politicking. We should give our support, recognition and join hands in leading the country to the front, while putting back past to its proper place.